"The goal of retrieving, reclaiming local ways of thinking does not have high or equal priority in all parts of the Pacific".
Professor Subramani's words from his 2003 paper, "Emerging Epistemologies" capture, in part, the need for a Pacific epistemologies conference. This is planned for the 3-7th July, 2006 at the University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji Islands.
In the last few years more Pacific Islanders have begun to challenge inherent assumptions in their patterns of thinking.
As Subramani points out in the same article, this have been expressed in the research of Manulani Meyer on Hawaiian epistemology, Vilisoni Hereniko's creative studies of Rotuma, Konai Thaman on curriculum studies in Tonga Larry Thomas' plays and Teresia Teaiwa's poetry and scholarly writing.
The conference aims to provide a forum for like-minded people who want to share ideas, discuss and challenge a new generation of islanders facing globalisation in the 21st Century.
Professor Epeli Hauofa, Director of the USP-based Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture, pointed out recently that the conference was also not just about "retrieving and reclaiming" but also about "building upon" Pacific ways of thinking.
What then does it mean to be a Pacific Islander? What exactly is Pacific epistemology? How do we think and respond to the issues facing the Pacific? What exactly do we "build upon" to move forward?
.." a body of Pacific thought should contribute to the establishment or affirmation of a Pacific philosophy and ethic- a set of applicable concepts and values to guide interaction within countries, within the region, and with the rest of the world. The ethic must be acknowledged, understood, and respected by all who interact with Pacific communities."
from Elise Huffer and Ropate Qalo's 2004 paper, "Have We Been Thinking Upside Down? The Contemporary Emergence of Pacific Theoretical Thought.